Clinical research glossary

Lupus Foundation of America

Resource Content

Clear and simple definitions of commonly used research terms.

An unwanted side effect of a drug
Measurements taken at the beginning of a study.
When a point of view prevents impartial judgment on issues relating to the subject of that point of view. In clinical studies, bias is controlled by blinding and randomization
Efforts to prevent participants from knowing whether they are in the treatment group or the placebo group. In a single-blind design, the participant is unaware of the nature of a drug or intervention, but the research team may know. In a double-blind study, neither the participant nor the research team knows who is getting a drug and who is receiving placebo.
A group of people with characteristics in common
People with similar characteristics as those in the intervention group but who receive placebo or only their usual care.
An overall outcome that the study is intended to measure
The factors or reasons that prevent a person from participating in a clinical study.
The factors, or reasons, that allow a person to participate in a clinical study.
A form that is signed before joining a research study. The form has details about the study and its risks.
A group that reviews and approves research on people. The purpose of the IRB is to make sure that all human research is conducted in accordance with all federal, institutional, and ethical rules.
Any drug or therapy that has an effect.
A pill, liquid, or powder that contains no active ingredient.
The design of a clinical trial.
The method by which participants are assigned to intervention and control groups, intended to reduce or eliminate biases.

Download the full glossary of clinical trial terms or view it here.